Kamala Harris rejects Ron DeSantis’ ‘unnecessary’ debate challenge over ‘redeeming qualities’ of slavery

DeSantis Harris
'I tell you there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact.'

The Vice President of the United States returned to Orlando Tuesday. And she gave a very hard no to accepting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ invitation to debate Black history. 

Kamala Harris addressed the AME 20th Women’s Missionary Society Quadrennial Convention. This was her second trip to Florida in 10 days, following up on her visit to Jacksonville last month to denounce Florida’s revised Black history standards, which include controversial language that suggests slavery had benefits for the enslaved.

As she did during her previous trip to Florida, the Vice President was unrelenting in her condemnation of the language backed by DeSantis, adding that no debate was possible regarding the “redeeming qualities” of slavery that she claimed DeSantis believes exists.

“And on top of all of this, in this moment, we even see extremists ban books and attempt to erase and even rewrite the ugly parts of our history right here in Florida, right here in Florida. They plan to teach students that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” Harris said. “They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, in an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates.”

“And now they attempt to legitimize these unnecessary debates with a proposal that most recently came in of a politically motivated roundtable,” Harris said, referring to DeSantis’ challenge to debate her about the slavery language in the curriculum.

“Well, I’m here in Florida. I tell you there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact. There were no redeeming qualities of slavery, right? And as I said last week, when I was again here in Florida, we will not stop calling out and fighting back against extremist so-called leaders who try to prevent our children from learning our true and full history.”

In the previous 25-minute speech in Jacksonville, Harris linked the state’s treatment of Black history to “powerful forces’” efforts to “distort history,” including to “minimize or even deny the Holocaust” and obscure the history of Japanese internment camps or the treatment of native peoples.

“They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not have it,” Harris added.

Since that speech, DeSantis has messaged heavily about and against Harris, including during a presidential campaign stop in New Hampshire Tuesday, where he reiterated his challenge to the Vice President to debate him in Tallahassee.

The Governor also took his attacks on Harris to Iowa.

“They have this hoax that Kamala Harris is trying to do saying, you know, we had people, you know, because when we got rid of critical race theory, what they said was, ‘Oh, you don’t want to teach about any Black history,’” DeSantis claimed.

“Harris says that somehow Florida is teaching that having chattel slavery was good. Nobody said that, and the standard said just the opposite. But she runs with the lie, and the media repeats the lie. And here’s the thing. Republicans need to fight back against these lies,” he added.

DeSantis continued to vent during a Fox News interview that aired Monday.

“Harris comes in and parachutes. What Republicans should have done is push back against her and say you are operating in bad faith,” DeSantis suggested.

DeSantis is in New Hampshire for a second straight day Tuesday, where he will meet with Concord voters and pre-tape a “Conversation with the Candidates” for a Friday airing on WMUR TV. 

Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party welcomed Harris back to the state.

“Florida Democrats welcome the return of Vice President Harris to the state of Florida for the second time in as many weeks while our own Governor spends his second day in New Hampshire,” said FDP Chair Nikki Fried. “The Biden-Harris administration understands that we are on the front lines of the fight for freedom and democracy — not just for Florida, but for the entire country — as our state attempts to rewrite American history.” 

“For the record — Vice President Harris doesn’t need an invitation to come back to Florida; she’s always welcome here.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Michael K

    August 1, 2023 at 9:11 am

    Funny how little man suddenly wants a debate. What is Ron afraid of, exactly?

    And speaking of “parachuting,” isn’t that exactly what Rhonda is doing across the US, while he supposedly has a job to serve as governor of Florida? Last time I checked, the Vice President travels anywhere across the US and the world as part of her or his job.

    Of course, our VP would run circles around Little D should they ever actually engage in a debate.

    • Earl Pitts "The Ronald's Un-Official Campaign Manager" American

      August 1, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Good mornting America,
      I am advising my Un-Official Non-Client, The Ronald, to pull a few punches on The Kamala and not just allow her her way, in Orlando, in what would be a Major Rookie move.
      Allthough I, Earl Pitts American, am not at liberty to fully disclose my Non-Client and my conversations I can tell you that we are working on some powerfull optics.
      A rookie move would be to just accept The Kamala’s announcement of her upcoming Thursday sermon to the Liberal populaton in “The Land of The Mouse” without doing anything about it.
      Now I cant say what if anything The Ronald may or may not do about the situation. But I, Earl Pitts American, advise The Ronald to hold his own speaking engagement at his “out if State location” and say all the right things to (like a fire extingusher) snuff out The Kamala’s lame candle speach with a mighty and rightous conservative fire-storm of a speach which Media can not ignore.
      Thank you America,
      Earl Pitts “Every Political Candidate Wishes I Would Help Them” American

      • Beverly Brevity

        August 1, 2023 at 10:51 am

        Word diarrhea again, Earl. Take something for it.

        • Earl Pitts "Most Loved Most Hated" American

          August 1, 2023 at 11:35 am

          Thank you Bevs for your sweet love and strong physical attraction to me, Earl Pitts American. It is so refreashing when a beautiful lady such as yourself, Bevs, has such an attraction to a hairy, 300 pound, overall wearing good ‘Ole country bumbkin such as myself, Earl Pitts American.
          [wink wink],
          Earl Pitts “Needs A Sugar Mama” American

      • Tjb

        August 1, 2023 at 11:59 am

        Are you this Earl Pitts?
        Earl Pitts is a former FBI special agent who was convicted of espionage for selling information to Soviet and Russian intelligence services.

  • Dont Say FLA

    August 1, 2023 at 9:35 am

    Rhonda effectively says his dad can beat up VP Harris’ dad

    LOL @ the Very Awkward Rhondsalescent whom we voters are getting to know thanks to Never Back Down PAC and State of Florida taxpayers tossing buckets of money down a-hole.

    The more you know … the more you hate Rhonda.

  • PeterH

    August 1, 2023 at 9:40 am

    Kamala Harris 2028!

    • Mark H.

      August 1, 2023 at 2:12 pm


  • Tom

    August 1, 2023 at 9:43 am

    “They have this hoax that Kamala Harris is trying to do saying, you know, we had people, you know, because when we got rid of critical race theory, what they said was, ‘Oh, you don’t want to teach about any Black history,’” DeSantis claimed.”

    Coherent messaging – that hallmark of any great orator.

    • M. Mouse

      August 1, 2023 at 10:56 am

      He might as well say, as Porky Pig says, “Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!”

  • KC and the Sunshine Bland

    August 1, 2023 at 11:11 am

    VP Harris in Orlando is the CLOSEST any DeSantis gets to the White House


    • Dont Say FLA

      August 1, 2023 at 12:18 pm

      Ron’s gonna put on … white boogie boogie boogie boogie shoes!

  • My Take

    August 1, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    I’m glad that many black women are involved in slapping down Trump and his mini-me. That has to hurt.

  • PeterH

    August 1, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Let’s hope DeSantis doesn’t embarrass Florida again and “monkey this up!”

  • Ron DiSaster

    August 1, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    She should absolutely NOT meet with DeSantis.

    You can’t win an argument with somebody who disregards truth, facts, and logic.

Comments are closed.


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